Sunday, July 26, 2009

The man behind the armor: Salah-ad-Din Al-Ayyubi


HE defied the odds in an era of darkness. He set aside the criticism of those who called him crazy for wanting to do the seemingly impossible: uniting the Ummah, standing up to the Crusaders, and returning honor where it belonged. He was respected by both his friends and foes, and is perhaps one of the few men whose name evokes feelings of honor and pride in the minds of so many people in every era and place.

He had the Crusaders chasing their tails in the battles of Alexandria, Hittin, Acre, Tyre, Beirut, Nablus, Haifa, Tiberius, Gaza, ‘Asqalan, Jerusalem, and dozens of other cities and towns across Sham and North Africa. He is popularly known as Salah-ad-Din the warrior.

But, who was the man behind the armor? How was he as a person, and as a Muslim? What personality does it take to carry out such heroic feats and achieve such a status?

In Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah (13/5-6), Ibn Kathir said that at the time of his death, Salah-ad-Din hardly had any money in his possession, and this was because:

“…of the immense amount of gifts and charity and kindness that he used to show the leaders and ministers under his command, and even to his enemies.

“He was very simple in his clothing, food, drink, and transportation. He would only wear cotton, linen, and wool. It is not known that he ever approached anything forbidden or discouraged, especially after Allah blessed him with his kingdom. Rather, his greatest concern and goal was to aid Islam.”

Ibn Kathir continued:

“He was very strict in praying on time in the jama’ah (congregation). It is said that he never missed a single prayer in jama’ah for a great part of his life, even during the illness that killed him. The imam would enter and lead him in prayer, and he would struggle to get up and pray despite his weakness.”

“He loved to hear the recitation of the Qur’an and the reading of hadith and knowledge. He was constant and habitual in listening to ahadith being read to him, to the point that he would hear a section read to him while he was standing between the ranks of soldiers!”

Ibn Kathir also mentioned: “He had a soft heart, and was easily swayed to tears when he would hear ahadith.

“And Salah-ad-Din was from the bravest of people, and the strongest of them in body and heart despite the illnesses and sickness his body suffered from. This was most evident during the Siege of Acre, where despite the massive numbers of the enemy, he only increased in power and bravery.”

He also said:

“He was generous, well-rounded, always laughing and smiling. He would never slack off in any good that he did. He was extremely patient when doing good and worshipping Allah.”

In ‘Siyar A’lam An-Nubala” (15/436), it’s mentioned that Al-Muwaffaq Abdul Latif said:

“I went to Salah-ad-Din while he was in Jerusalem, and I saw a king who filled eyes with amazement and hearts with love, whether they were near or far. The first night I spent with him, I found his gatherings filled with scholars engaged in knowledge. He would listen intently and participate in their discussions. He would learn how to build walls and dig trenches, and he would then do this himself, carrying the rocks on his own shoulders.”

Al-’Imad said in ‘As-Siyar’ (15/440):

“He would only wear what was permissible to wear, such as linen and cotton. His gatherings were free of vain talk, and they were only attended by the most virtuous of people. He loved to hear ahadith being read with their chains of narration. He was forebearing, honest, pious, pure, and trustworthy. He would contain himself and not become angry. He would never turn back someone in need or embarrass someone who spoke in front of him. He was extremely kind and charitable and I never saw him praying except in jama’ah.”

Adh-Dhahabi said about his death: “And I never saw a king whose death people were sad for except him. This is because he was loved by everyone: he was loved by the righteous and the wicked, the Muslim and the Kafir.” This was Salah-ad-Din Al-Ayyubi. This was the man behind the armor. This was his lifestyle and character, and it was nothing other than this that served as the platform for the amazing feats across the lands that we remember him for today.

Such lifestyle and character is something you will find common between all legends of Islam, whether scholars, leaders or martyrs. You always find them paying great attention to the daily recitation of the Qur’an, studying of the Shariah, giving lots of charity, avoiding useless talk, and living simple lives free of luxury and excessive comfort. This is really the way to success. There is no way you can dream of defending the Shariah if you don’t even have the willpower to implement it in your daily life.

What is interesting is Salah-ad-Din wasn’t always like this. Adh-Dhahabi mentions in ‘As-Siyar’ (15/434 and 436):

“Since his time as a ruler, he abandoned alcohol and worldly pleasures.”

“He used to drink alcohol, and then repented from it.”

That’s right. Salah-ad-Din Al-Ayyubi – this righteous man who singlehandedly changed the course of history – loved to drink and indulge in worldly pleasures. But he repented and transformed his life. This small fact teaches us a mighty lesson: not everyone is born in a life of righteousness. The great people we love and admire were not born with virtue. It also gives us hope that no matter how insignificant or lost we think we are, we can become someone truly great Insha Allah.

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on Meals earns by working with owns hands

Prophet's sayings- on Meals earns by working with owns hands

ALLAH’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said:

"Nobody has ever eaten a better meal than what one earns by working with one’s own hands. The Prophet of Allah, David, used to eat from the earnings of his manual labor."

Source: Al-Bukhari (3/34, no. 286)

on Mercy and Respect

Prophet's sayings- on Mercy and Respect

ALLAH’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever fails to show mercy to our children and honor to our elders is not one of us.”

Source: (Al-Tirmidhi, no. 1919)

Beware of suspicion

Prophet's sayings- Beware of suspicion

ALLAH’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said:

“Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the worst of false tales; and do not look for the others’ faults and do not spy, and do not be jealous of one another, and do not desert (cut your relation with) one another, and do not hate one another; and O Allah’s worshipers! Be brothers (as Allah has ordered you!”)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

10 gems for a good life

1. Wake up in the last third of the night to beg forgiveness from Allah.

“...and those who pray and beg Allah’s Pardon in the last hours of the night.” (Qur’an, 3:17)

2. At least once in a while, seclude yourself from people in order to contemplate.

“Those who remember Allah standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth...” (Qur’an, 3:191)

3. Stay in the company of the righteous.

“And keep yourself patiently with those who call on their Lord...” (Qur’an, 18:28)

4. Remember Allah often.

“Remember Allah with much remembrance.” (Qur’an, 33:41)

5. Pray two units of prayer with sincerity and devotion.?

“Those who offer their prayer with all solemnity and full submissiveness.”(Qur’an, 23:2)

6. Recite the Qur’an with understanding and reflection.

“Do they not then consider the Qur’an carefully?” (Qur ‘an, 4:82)

7. Fast on a hot, dry day.

“He abandons his food, drink, and desire — all for Me.”

8. Give charity secretly.

“Until the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand has spent.”

9. Provide relief and aid to the afflicted Muslim.

“Whoever gives relief to a Muslim from one of the vicissitudes of this life, Allah will relieve him from a calamity that is from doing the calamities of the Day of Judgment.”

10. Be as abstemious and abstinent as possible in this fleeting world.?

“The Hereafter is better and more lasting.” (Qur’an 87: 17)

– Excerpt from ‘Don’t Be Sad, IIPH

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Sunday, July 12, 2009


Guidance from The Prophet (saws)

Hadrat Anas ibn Malik (r.a.) said: ‘I heard the Messenger of Allah (saws) saying, "Allah, the Exalted, has Said: 'O son of Adam! I shall go on forgiving you so long as you pray to Me and aspire for My forgiveness, whatever may be your sins. O son of Adam! I do not care even if your sins should pile up to the sky and should you beg pardon of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam! If you come to Me with an earthful of sins and meet Me, not associating anything with Me in worship, I will certainly grant you as much pardon as will fill the earth.'''
Related by At-Tirmidhi.

Regardless of the quality or the quantity of the sins one might have committed in one’s past, if one turns to Allah Subhanah and seeks sincere forgiveness; it is expected that they will find their Lord Forgiving and Merciful.  Regardless of whether the sins one might have accumulated are major or minor, regardless of whether the sins one might have accumulated are so much that if piled up they would reach the heavens…..if one turns in ‘taubah’ unto their Lord and seeks sincere forgiveness before they meet with their appointment of death, The Lord Most Merciful will envelop such a repentant believer in His Forgiveness and Mercy. 
If one were to die in a state whereby one did not seek repentance for their sins, and the sins were so many that they would fill the whole earth….provided one did not associate anything in worship with the Lord Most Majestic Most High (ie. did not commit the abomination of ‘shirk’), their Lord Most Gracious will grant them with as much pardon as will fill the whole earth!  Such is the magnitude of the vastness of the Lord Most Merciful Who Created!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Winning gold through intentions

Winning gold through intentions

1. Intention before the act: Use the golden touch

Daily acts can be converted into acts of worship by making our intentions pure for the sake of Allah’s pleasure. This is Ikhlas (doing our deeds sincerely for the sake of Allah).

2. Intention during the act: Spend it wisely

This means accomplishing our acts of worship in the right manner, i.e. as per the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Scholars say the above two are conditions for any act of worship to be valid, i.e. Ikhlas and having been done according to Sunnah.

3. Intention after the act: Preserve the outcome

After our deeds, we must hope for and have and anticipation of the reward from Allah (the Most High) when we meet Him, Insha Allah.

“O you who believe! Do not render in vain your Sadaqah (charity) by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like him who spends his wealth to be seen of men, and he does not believe in Allah, nor in the Last Day. His likeness is the likeness of a smooth rock on which is a little dust; on it falls heavy rain which leaves it bare. They are not able to do anything with what they have earned. And Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.” (Qur’an, 2:264)

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Prophet's sayings- on waiting for prayer


ALLAH’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said:

“As long as any one of you is waiting for the prayer, he is considered to be praying actually, and the angels say, ‘O Allah! Be merciful to him and forgive him’, (and go on saying so) unless he leaves his place of praying or passes wind (i.e. breaks his ablution).”

Source: Al-Bukhari (4/54, no. 452)

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Noble Teachings of the Qur'an

The Qur'an offers freedom of faith (10:108, 6:104, 10:99, 39:41, 11:121, 73:19, 43:88-89, 2:272, 76:29, 18:29, 42:48, 76:2-3, 3:20, 88:21-22, 16:82-83, etc.), freedom of religion (2:256, 109:6, 22:67-69, 42:15, 10:41, 2:139, 42:6, etc.), and freedom of freethinking (15:3, 17:84, 6:110, 10:11, 11:121, 52:45, etc.) without any temporal punishment.

The Qur'an teaches to believe in all the previous Prophets of God as they represent the chain of evolution of the Prophethood (2:1-4, 3:84, 2:285, 4:152, 37:37, etc.).

The Qur'an teaches that Islam is for everyone (2:62, 22:17, 21:107, 2:111-112, 5:69, 34:28, 103:1-3, 22:67, 10:47, 35:24, 16:36, 68:52, 49:13, 4:1, 2:213, 10:19, 17:70, etc.).

The Qur'an teaches love, mercy, kindness, and forgiveness (1:1-2, 85:14, 21:107, 60:7, 4:17, 7:199, 39:53, 16:119, 3:159, 15:85, 16:119, 19:96, 2:160, 2:163, 4:27-28, etc.).

The Qur'an is the only non-Jewish scripture in the world where Jews have been honored and protected in so many verses (2:40, 2:47-52, 2:57-58, 5:20, 5:44, 10:47, 10:90-93, 14:6, 17:2-3, 20:47-52, 20:77-80, 44:30-32, 45:16, etc.), good Jews have been praised and they have also been offered salvation if they follow the true teachings of Moses (2:62, 2:121-122, 3:113-115, 3:199, 5:12, 5:65-66, 5:69, 29:46, etc.).

The Qur'an is the only non-Christian scripture in the world where Jesus and Mary have been honored with very high respect (3:42-55, 5:44-46, 5:110, 43:59, Chapter 19 on Mary, etc.), good Christians have been praised and they have also been offered salvation if they follow the true teachings of Jesus (2:62, 2:121-122, 3:113-115, 3:199, 5:65-66, 5:69, 5:82, 29:46, etc.).

Unlike Bible that prescribes death penalty for idolatry and polytheism (Deuteronomy 17:3-5, 13:6-16; 2 Chronicles 15:13; Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 21:8; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Exodus 20:4-5; etc.), the Qur'an doesn't have any temporal punishment for the same (22:17, 6:107-8, 22:67-69, 17:84, 49:11).

The Qur'an teaches that the pre-Qur'anic people will be judged according to their own deeds and actions (2:134, 10:47, 35:24, 16:36, 40:78, 4:164, 17:15, 62:5, 5:44, 20:133-4, etc.).

The Qur'an is the only religious Book that strongly condemns female infanticide (16:58-59, 81:8-9, 6:137, 6:140, 6:151, 17:31).

The Qur'an teaches in various ways to free the slaves that come into possession as a result of war (90:12-13, 9:60, 5:89, 2:177, 4:3, 4:25, 4:92, 24:33, 58:3, 8:67, 47:4, etc.).

The Qur'an strongly condemns terrorism and oppression (4:75, 22:39-40, 9:13-14, 42:39-43, 38:28, 2:190-193).

The Qur'an strongly condemns unjust killing and suicide (5:32, 2:195, 4:29-30, 4:91-93, 17:31, 17:33, 6:151, 25:68, 3:21, etc.).

The Qur'an teaches self-defense and tolerance (60:7-9, 2:190-3, 6:107-8, 6:68, 49:11, 39:3, 16:126-128, 73:10, 19:46-47, etc.).

The Qur'an advises Muslims not to take terrorists, intolerants, slanderers, and haters as friends and protectors (5:51, 3:28, 5:57-61, 60:7-9, 3:118, etc.).

The Qur'an strongly condemns priesthood and religious peddlers (2:41, 2:79, 5:44, 3:187, 9:9, 9:31, 9:34, 2:174, 12:104, etc.).

The Qur'an strongly forbids eating up others' property (2:188, 4:2, 4:10, 4:161, etc.).

The Qur'an strongly condemns defrauders (83:1-4, 55:7-9, 17:35, 6:152, etc.).

The Qur'an teaches not to follow feeble oath-monger, slanderer, greedy, and hinderer of the good (68:10-13, 49:11-12).

The Qur'an protects religious temples (22:40).

The Qur'an teaches to follow the middle and straight path (17:29, 25:67, 2:143, 23:62, 4:171, 17:9, 2:286).

The Qur'an gives equal status and rights to men and women (4:1, 4:7, 4:124, 3:195, 16:97, 33:35, 49:13, etc.).

The Qur'an is probably the only religious Book where women have the right to inherit (4:7).

The Qur'an gives rights and dignity to orphans, needy, and widows (2:177, 2:115, 2:220, 2:240-241, 4:2, 4:8, 4:10, 4:36, 9:60, 17:26, 17:34, 93:9-10, 89:17-18, 6:152, 107:1-3, etc.).

The Qur'an encourages men to give dower to women as free gift whom they marry (4:4).

The Qur'an teaches to give charity to poor and needy (2:43, 2:177, 2:277, etc.).

The Qur'an protects women's dignity from wicked men (24:4, 24:23).

The Qur'an teaches that widow can re-marry if she wishes (2:234-240).

The Qur'an teaches that woman can get divorce if she wishes (2:228-232).

The Qur'an teaches that divorced woman can re-marry if she wishes (2:229, 2:232).

The Qur'an teaches to be kind, helpful, and respectful to your parents (29:8, 17:23, 46:15, 19:14, 6:151, 4:36, 2:215, 2:83, 71:28, etc.).

The Qur'an forbids marrying one's mother, daughters, sisters, and many other close relatives (4:22-23).

The Qur'an encourages both men and women to be modest and chaste (7:26-28, 24:30-31, 33:59, 2:268, 17:32, etc.).

The Qur'an prescribes hundred stripes as a symbol of punishment for adultery and fornication to keep the society healthy (24:2).

The Qur'an strongly discourages intoxicants and gambling (5:90-91).

The Qur'an forbids eating dead animals, ferocious animals, blood, and pork (16:115).

The Qur'an condemns bad magic that may harm gullible people (2:102).

The Qur'an teaches to strive for good works (2:148).

The Qur'an teaches not to lie and not to mix up truth with falsehood (45:7, 2:42, 52:11-12, 3:94, 3:71, 39:3, etc.).

The Qur'an encourages people for seeking knowledge and asking question (17:36, 39:9, 47:24, 25:33, 38:29, 17:85, 21:7, 2:215-220, etc.).

The Qur'an teaches not to ask those types of questions, which may cause you pain and trouble (5:101). For example, who is your real father?

The Qur'an teaches not to follow conjecture (10:36, 17:36, 49:12).

The Qur'an teaches, contrary to the superstitious belief of the then Arabs, that adopted son and biological son are not the same (33:4-5).

The Qur'an teaches that majority may not be granted (6:116).

The Qur'an encourages traveling (29:20, 22:46, 6:11, 40:21, 47:10, 30:42, 3:137, etc.).

The Qur'an offers practical Golden Rule that can be followed (2:44, 41:34, 11:88, 60:7-9, 61:2-3, 8:61; Sahih Bukhari 8:73:26, 1:2:12).

The Qur'an teaches to invite people to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching and to reason with them in ways that are best and most gracious (16:125).

The Qur'an teaches to argue with the People of the Book in the best manner (29:46).

The Qur'an teaches that God begets not, nor is He begotten as begetting is an un-Godly act (112:3, 4:171, 19:35, 10:68, 19:88-92, 5:75, etc.).

Both the Qur'an and Bible teach that Jesus was a human (Acts 2:22; Qur'an 5:75, 25:20) and a Prophet of God (Matthew 21:11, Luke 24:19; Qur'an 2:87).

The Qur'an teaches not to believe in Trinity as Jesus himself never preached this kind of irrational doctrine (Mark 12:29; Qur'an 4:171, 5:73).

The Qur'an teaches not to believe in Original Sin as Jesus himself never preached this kind of inhumane doctrine (Ezekiel 18:20; Qur'an 17:15, 6:164, 53:38).

The Qur'an invites people from the depth of Darkness into Light (14:1, 57:9).

The Qur'an teaches not to practice monasticism as it is an impractical way of life (57:27).

The Qur'an teaches to have Imaan (conviction) in The One and Only Unseen God (2:3, 112:1-4, 67:12, 36:11, 42:51, etc.).

The Qur'an offers falsification test and challenge for the skeptics to falsify its Divine Claim (4:82, 17:88, 2:23-24, 10:37, etc.).

The Qur'an very emphatically and uniquely claims to be the Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds in so many verses (4:82, 17:88, 2:23-24, 10:37, 32:2, 26:192-4, 16:102, 36:5, 42:51-53, 41:52-53, 56:77-82, 69:40-51, 25:4-6, etc.).

The Qur'an offers various logics for the unbelievers of Creator (22:5, 75:36-40, 22:73, 23:91, 2:28, 17:99, 19:66-67, 21:22, 29:46, 6:99, etc.).

The Qur'an ensures absolute justice in this world and in the hereafter (4:135, 5:8, 4:58, 57:25, 39:69-70, 40:17, 21:47, 36:54, 2:281, 7:29, 16:111, 17:13-15, 20:134-135, 4:123, etc.).

The Qur'an teaches that this temporal world is a test for the hereafter (18:7, 67:2, 2:155, 2:214, 29:2-3), and each and every individual will be judged perfectly according to his/her own deeds and actions (36:54, 4:85, 40:17, 21:47, 36:54, 2:281, 7:29, 16:111, 17:13-15, 20:134-135, 42:24, 4:123).

The Qur'an promises eternal peace and salvation in the hereafter (85:11, 4:122, 14:23, 19:60-61, 32:19, 2:25, 2:112, 16:97, 4:124, etc.).

Who is more shy?


It is well known that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was extremely resolute in defending Islam and the Muslim community. He would not accept any compromise in matters of faith and would stand firm in resisting any injustice that may be aimed at even the weaker elements in the community. In fact he would defend the rights of non-Muslim people, provided that they did not participate in war against Islam and Muslims. Yet with all this firmness and courage, the Prophet was a very shy person when it came to his own personal matters or when the discussion involved some intimate matters such as body discharges.

Ayesha reports: “A woman asked the Prophet about the form of taking a bath after she has finished her period. ‘How do I conduct my bath,’ she said. He replied: ‘Take a piece of cotton, perfumed with musk, and use it to purify yourself.’ She asked: ‘How do I purify myself with it?’ He said: ‘Well, use it and purify yourself.’ She said: ‘How?’ He said: ‘All glory be to God! Do purify yourself.’ I pulled her toward me and said to her: ‘Use it to remove any traces of blood.’” (Related by Al-Bukhari).

Muslims used to ask the Prophet about every little detail. They realized that Islam meant much more than a belief or a conviction that certain principles are true. It is a complete way of life, which required them to conduct all their life affairs in accordance with its principles. Purification is an essential part of Islamic worship. A Muslim always keeps himself clean, washing off all impurity. Muslims are required to perform ablutions before they stand up in prayer. Likewise, they are required to wash all their bodies and their heads when they are in the state of ceremonial impurity. The Prophet told them this and they knew what is required. Hence, the woman’s question was not seeking this elementary information. She was asking for more intimate information concerning the cleanliness of the place where menses is discharged.

The Prophet understood what she meant. He, however, was too shy to speak to a woman explicitly about this. He had already told women how to take a purification bath. As he explained, a woman who has finished her period should bring enough water and whatever else she needs for cleanliness, washing her private parts. Then she performs the ordinary ablutions normally needed for prayer. Then she pours some water over her head and rubs her scalp, pushing her fingers through her hair. Then she pours water over all her body. After that, she uses a piece of cotton or wool and wet it with some perfume or musk and use it for purification. As the woman in this case, Asma bint Shakal, felt that purification meant ablution, in its two forms, she wondered how could she do the ablution with a piece of cotton or wool. The Prophet tried his best to make her understand what was beyond his words, but she was persistent, asking for more details. Here Ayesha realized the difficulty of the situation, pulled the woman aside and explained to her what the Prophet meant.

There is nothing embarrassing in all this. We only note that the Prophet was too shy to discuss such matters with a woman, even in the presence of his wife. However, Ayesha praised the woman and her people generally. She said: “Blessed be the Ansari women. Shyness has not stopped them from seeking better knowledge of their religion.”

- By Adil Salahi

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How they lived: Ali Bin Abu Talib (RA) sayings

From the lives of our pious predecessors:

IT is reported that Ali Bin Abu Talib (Allah be pleased with him) said, “The servant (of Allah) should not fear except his sins, and should not hope except in his Lord. The ignorant should not be ashamed to ask, and the knowledgeable should not be ashamed to (admit by) saying ‘Allah knows best’ if he does not know something.”

– Al-Baihaqi, Shu’ab Al-Iman, vol. 12, pg. 195.